Is time running out?

The UK is now only 15 weeks away from its exit as a member of the European Union and the 'meaningful vote' on the withdrawal deal has been postponed.

Yesterday, without a doubt, was incredibly eventful in Westminster. The UK is now only 15 weeks away from its exit as a member of the European Union and the 'meaningful vote' on the withdrawal deal has been postponed. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has not rescheduled a definite new date for parliament to vote on the withdrawal deal which, in itself, is causing significant unrest, particularly within the business world. The markets reacted to the postponement throughout yesterday with a drop in the pound of more than 1.3% against the dollar, marking the lowest fall in almost two years.

Theresa May has begun a round of visits within the EU in an attempt to renegotiate the withdrawal deal. The main issue is that of the Irish backstop. Currently, if the backstop is required (assuming no agreement has been reached with the EU by December 2020), then the UK as a whole will remain within a customs union with the EU and Northern Ireland will remain aligned to some of the EU rules of the single market.

So what happens next? Theresa May will continue her discussions this week with the EU in an attempt to bring back to the UK parliament some further concessions from the EU. However, Jean-Claude Juncker has said that there is "no room whatsoever" for a renegotiation on the withdrawal deal and the re-opening of the withdrawal agreement will not happen. It has been suggested just this morning that the 'meaningful vote' in parliament will take place before 21 January 2019. However, given that primary legislation is required to implement the withdrawal deal prior to 29 March 2019, there is very little time remaining.

Whilst the UK waits for further details on the withdrawal deal, planning ought to continue for a 'no deal' Brexit both here in the UK and within the EU.

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